Sustainable living | Creation care | Environmental education | Tomatoes





Sylvia C. Keesmaat (B.A. Redeemer College; M.A. McMaster University; D.Phil. Oxford)


Dr. Sylvia C. Keesmaat taught Biblical Studies and Hermeneutics at the Institute for Christian Studies for ten years. In 2004 she left full-time academia to pursue her interests in sustainable living. Currently, she is Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Christian Studies and at the Toronto School of Theology. She is also an instructor in the Creation Care Studies Program in Belize. Since 2013, Sylvia is the Biblical Scholar in Reside  for the Deanery of Victoria-Haliburton of the Diocese of Toronto, Anglican Church of Canada.





Sylvia has planned and maintained the large vegetable garden at Russet House Farm for many years. She has also supervised many interns in the garden over the past ten years, as well a giving workshops on organic gardening, organic pest control, and permaculture.


In 2014 Sylvia earned her Permaculture Design Certificate.




In addition to being an Adjunct Professor at Trinity and Wycliffe Colleges, as well as the Institute for Christian Studies, Sylvia speaks frequently on issues related to the Bible and contemporary discipleship, as well as issues of social justice and creation care




Lay-Education (open to the public):


Following Jesus the Prophet: Becoming a New People. Three presentations at St John’s, Anglican Church, Ida, Feb 21, Mar 6, and Mar 20, 4pm. Potluck to follow.


Holy Week: Reflecting on the Walk to the Cross and Beyond.

Holy Week is the only part of the church year that we live in real time: the last week of Jesus’ life becomes the path that we walk with him. On this day we will explore the events of Jesus’ last week leading up to the cross and resurrection, and discuss what this path means for our lives today


March 19, 2016. 9.30am-3.30pm.

St Paul’s Anglican Church, Lindsay.  $30, including lunch Bursuries available.

Email to register.


The Psalms: God’s People Praying.

Lament, praise, thanksgiving, doubt, storytelling, joy—the Psalms give us the single largest insight into the hopes and fears of God’s people in the Old Testament. Over four weeks we will explore the Psalms in their ancient context, and discuss how these prayers can be a resource for our own prayer life


Wednesdays April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18, 2016.

 7pm-9pm. St James, Fenelon Falls. $20 includes all four weeks, register at the door. Bursaries available.


Justice in the Biblical Story

When the Bible speaks of redemption or salvation or forgiveness this language is rooted in a vision of justice that permeates the entire text. This four week course will explore this theme throughout the Bible. In God’s kingdom, what does justice look like for the poor, for women, for creation, for the stranger


Thursdays Oct 13, Oct 20, Oct 27, Nov 3, 2016. 7pm-9pm.

Location TBA. $20 includes all four weeks, register at the door. Bursaries available.


Academic (for credit or audit):


Reading Romans in the Shadow of Empire.

July 11-15, 2016, 9am-4pm, Institute for Christian Studies.

We will read Romans as a thoroughly situational letter, written to communities shaped by the culture and beliefs of imperial Rome, struggling with what it means to be faithful in a context of slavery, poverty and violent distrust of the stranger.


Creation: Food and Land: Biblical Faith Current Crisis.

 Tuesdays, 2-4pm, Fall 2016, Wycliffe College.

This course will explore the biblical themes of land, food and justice in light of competing views of land, economics and justice both in biblical times and in our own context, locally and internationally. Interactions with indigenous views of land, land justice and food security for immigrants and the poor in our city, the transition movement, bioregionalism and watershed discipleship, will all contribute to a vision for land restoration locally and on a global level.




A Lament for the Land: Romans, Suffering and Hope

 a keynote address given at the Rooted and Grounded Conference at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, 2 October, 2016.


A participant in “The Chosen Part I”  and “The Chosen Part 2” on Ideas, CBC Radio.


Outside of a Small Circle of Friends: Jesus and the Justice of God”  a presentation with Brian Walsh at The Wheaton Theology Conference on the work of N.T. Wright, April 17, 2010.








Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire. Co-authored with Sylvia C. Keesmaat. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2004.


Paul and His Story: (Re)Interpreting the Exodus Tradition. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994.


The Advent of Justice (editor and contributing author) , 1994. Reissued, Wipf and Stock, 2014).




Betrayal and Resurrection” The Banner, April 2015.


Pentecost and Fire” The Banner, May 2014.


Why did Jesus Die?”The Banner, April 2012.


The Kingdom on Earth or in Heaven?” The Banner, March 2011.


Beyond Pentecost, The Banner, May 2008, p. 85.


Harry Potter and the Way of Jesus” The Banner, January, 2008, pp. 18-21.


Genocide or Healing?” with Grant LeMarquand, The Banner, March 2007, p. 32-34.


"When There Is No Healing" The Banner, October 2004, p. 44-46.


"The Upside-down World of the Parable of the Talents" The Banner, vol 138, October 2003, pp. 38-40





2015  “Land, Idolatry and Justice in Romans,” in Conception, Reception and the    Spirit: Essays in Honour of Andrew T. Lincoln ed. J. Gordon McConville    and Lloyd J. Pietersen. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 90-103.


2014 “Colossians” in The Fortress Commentary on the Bible: New Testament, edited by Margaret Aymer, Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, and David Sánchez. Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 557-572.


2012   “Dorothy Leigh Sayers” in The Dictionary of Women Biblical Interpreters edited by Marion Tayler and Agnes Choi (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic).


2012  “Reading Romans in the Capital of Empire” in Reading Paul’s Letters to the Romans,  edited by Gerald Sumney. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 47-64.


2011 “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends: Jesus and the Justice of God” in Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright, edited by Nicholas Perrin and Richard B. Hays. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 66-89, co-authored with Brian J. Wals



2009 “Paul and the Hope of Creation” in The Gift of Creation: Images from Scripture and Earth, edited by Norman Wirzba. Morley, Missouri: Acclaim Press, 130-139.


2009  “Reading the Epistles for Justice” in The Justice Project, edited by Brian McLaren, Elisa Padilla and Ashley Bunting Seeber. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 91-98.


2008  “Gardening in the Face of Empire” in Eat Well: A Food Road Map, edited by Kirstin VanderGiessen-Reitsma. Three Rivers, MI: *culture is not optional, 2008,  55-62.


2008 “Talmon’s Story” in Do Justice: A Social Justice Road Map, edited by Kirstin VanderGiessen-Reitsma, Three Rivers, MI: *culture is not optional, 2008, 17-27.


2007  “If your Enemy is Hungry: Love and Subversive Politics in Romans 12 & 13” in Character Ethics and the New Testament, ed Robert Brawley. Westminster John Knox Press, pp 141-158.


2006  “In the Face of Empire: Paul’s use of Scripture in the Shorter Epistles” in Hearing the Old Testament in the New Testament, ed, Stanley E. Porter. Eerdmans, pp. 182-212.


2005  “Colossians, Book of” in Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible ed. Kevin J. VanHoozer et al. (Baker/SPCK), pp. 119-223.


2004  “The Psalms in Romans and Galatians” in The Psalms in the New Testament ed. Steve Moyise and Maarten J.J. Menken. T&T Clark, pp.  139-161.


2004  "Welcoming in the Gentiles: A Biblical Model for Decision-Making" in Living Together in the Church, ed. Chris Ambidge and Greig Dunn. Anglican Book Centre.


2000  "Strange Neighbours and Risky Care (Matt 18.21-35; Luke 14.7-14; Luke 10:25-37) in The Challenge of Jesus' Parables edited by Richard N. Longenecker. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, pp. 263-285.


1998  "Sabbath and Jubilee: Radical Alternatives for Being Human" in Making a New Beginning: Biblical Reflections on Jubilee. Toronto: Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative, pp. 15-23.6.